The general election for Missoula City Council is scheduled to take place on Nov. 5. Each of the six wards of Missoula County has one of two seats open for reelection, meaning half of the council is up for reelection.
The election will take place entirely through mail-in votes. All eligible voters should have received their ballots in the mail, which they can return in the mail or drop off in person at various polling locations. Absentee ballots were sent out on Oct. 16 and must be received by 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday. Absentee voters must fill out the ballot and return it in the envelopes provided. The designated voter the ballot was mailed to must also be the one to sign the return envelope.
To register to vote, drop off ballots or to get a replacement ballot, voters can go to the Elections Center, located at the Missoula County Fairgrounds in the fine arts building. Students can complete same-day voter registration or get replacement ballots at the Elections Center. Other drop-off locations for ballots include the Missoula County Courthouse, Lewis and Clark School, Rattlesnake School and the Missoula Senior Citizens Center.
After a primary election in September, the race was narrowed down to the top two candidates for each ward. Each ward has two representatives with staggered four-year terms. The University District is located within Ward 3.
Ward 1 includes downtown Missoula, the Northside, Marshall County and the Rattlesnake Valley. Heidi West is running for reelection as a city council member for Ward 1. She is advocating for a clean environment and affordable, safe housing. Her opponent is Amber Shaffer, a UM alumna focused on cutting down unnecessary spending, as well as addressing parking and crime.
Ward 2 covers the Westside, Grant Creek, Mullan Road, and the Pleasant View neighborhoods. Mirtha Becerra is running for reelection as a city council member for Ward 2. She is campaigning for better affordable housing and transportation. She is running against Brent Sperry, who wants to address property taxes and promote efficient spending.
Ward 3 includes Rose Park, Riverfront, and the University District neighborhoods. Gwen Jones is running for reelection. She is advocating for financial sustainability for city services and taxes. She is running against recent UM graduate Drew Iverson, who is campaigning for lower property taxes and affordable housing.
Ward 4 covers Farviews/Pattee Canyon, Lewis and Clark, Moose Can Gully, Rose Park, Southgate Triangle, and part of the University District. Alan Ault is campaigning for more efficient government spending, lower taxes, and improving road conditions. His opponent, Amber Sherrill, is advocating for affordable housing, fighting climate change, and lower property taxes.
Ward 5 includes Franklin to the Fort, Miller Creek, Moose Can Gully, South 39th, Southgate Triangle, and Two Rivers. John Contos and Alex Fregerio are running for the position. Contos is campaigning for tighter budgeting and lower taxes. Fregerio wants to focus on more transparent communication between the council and citizens in addition to affordable housing.
Ward 6 covers Franklin to the Fort, River Road and Two Rivers. Nick Shontz and Sandra Vasecka are running for the position. Shontz is focusing on affordable housing and keeping green spaces, like trails and parks, clean. Vasecka is campaigning for lower property taxes and investing in schools and police departments.